To put it simply, what Marvel and Netflix have done in creating Daredevil as the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the best things Marvel has done so far. The films that have been released, as well as ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are all made for a wider audience, full of well crafted action scenes, super powers, a friendlier atmosphere, and a focus on an awe inspiring atmosphere. Daredevil is nothing like any of this. Even though it exists in the same universe as The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, Daredevil exists in its own dark, violent, and bloody world. The way it fits into the grand scheme of things is so perfect that even if the series were to remain with just this one hero, it’d still continue to be one of the best things in the MCU.
So much changes over the course of this season that by the end, it’s like watching a completely different show. The city is full of crime, drugs, and corruption in every office. Matt Murdock, with his best friend Foggy Nelson, seem to be the only two guys that give a damn. From the start all they want to be are two good lawyers in a city that needs something, anything to help. They live in a realistic world, (even though there are obviously heroes in their universe) where there are real world problems with few willing to help. They’re typical do-gooders at first glance that worked for a major corporation, saw what they did that was awful, and said hell no to all of that. They want to make a big difference regardless of lack of money, or even clients.
Matt Murdock, blind lawyer, that’s not really blind, and could beat you in an alley and in court.
But, Matt Murdock has another approach to giving the city the help it desperately needs. He’s the man in the mask, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, and eventually named, Daredevil. He’s not a powerful superhero, he’s just a vigilante who can easily get beat, cut, and nearly killed at almost every turn. Murdock’s talents are not viewed as some sort of super power like in the previous attempt to bring him to the big screen. He has heightened senses that make it so he can see without eyes, he knows what’s around him and can tell what people feel by the sounds of their heartbeat. Mix that with being incredibly adept in martial arts and he just works as a neighborhood hero.
Murdock takes several lengthy and gruesome beatings in his “late nights.” While a lot of the more violent scenes are just implied by off screen screams and blood splattering from the sidelines, the parts we do see are far more brutal than what is the norm with Marvel. There are a few wounds he gets that look like he may very well die from them. He stumbles a lot at first, taking on more people at once than he probably should, and has a harder time dealing with anyone who also happens to be a skilled fighter. After nearly dying at the hands of what he assumes was a ninja and Fisk his cuts are so severe that they keep reopening when he moves and fights later on. He’s more often banged up than not as a result of his fighting. But hey, he’s a blind guy, so all he’s got to do is tell his friends he fell, right?
Matt and Foggy have been best friends for years.
The only friends Murdock (Charlie Cox) seems to have are his best friend Foggy (Elden Henson), their secretary Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), a girl named Clair (Rosario Dawson) who patches him up when needed, and a priest he goes to for advice from time to time. He knows very well who is trustworthy outside his close friends, like Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall), and a couple of police officers, but Ben typically only speaks to Karen. Murdock and Foggy have been best friends since they became roommates in college. Karen joins the group quickly in the show during episode one, and the three of them are together for the season. There are others though, like his mentor who appears for an episode.
“Stick” is the name he goes by, but that may not even be his real name. Stick is the reason a young Matt Murdock was able to learn to take advantage of his gift. He added an interesting explanation to how Matt is a great fighter and is able to use his senses to their full potential. Somehow Stick is capable of similar talents but it’s hard to say if he’s on par with Matt, or even how he learned to be able to use his senses the way he does. His introduction to the series was without a doubt one of the more brutal parts. Using a katana to slice a man to pieces is something you don’t typically see in a hero show.
One of the best parts of Dardevil has to be the big guy, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). In Marvel comics, Fisk is the Kingpin, the biggest of the bad when it comes to humans in the Marvel Universe. He’s all muscle, in control of everything, and so feared that no one approaches him without his explicit permission. Fisk is a man to be feared by everyone and everyone knows exactly who he is. This is not that same Kingpin in Netflix’s Daredevil. This Wilson Fisk is big, he’s in charge of a lot of people, and has a lot of money, but he’s not well known. He isn’t the big guy in charge of everything and feared by everyone, yet.
Wilson Fisk is like an awkward kid that doesn’t know how to behave around others. He has plans and knows exactly when and how to deal with opposition, but he isn’t quite the cliche Fisk. When he’s first shown he’s simply marveling at a painting called “Rabbit in a Snow Storm.” He’s awkward and shy around a woman named Vanessa and is simply trying to get the courage to convince her to go to dinner with him. Throughout the season he becomes violent at times, incredibly so. He literally smashes heads if he gets angry enough. Eventually, by about halfway through the season, he has completely changed how the city is run. The others in charge alongside him are slowly being removed in a way that makes everyone see how dangerous he is. And at the same time we see how “human” he really is compared to past versions of this character. He had a horrible upbringing, abusive father, made fun of, and whenever he reminisces about his past he breaks out in cold sweats, freaks out, and is almost on the verge of tears several times. This Fisk seems to genuinely want to help his city, it’s too bad he’s got an uncontrollable rage sometimes. He seems to have enough of a head on him to almost be likeable. then he kills someone and you’re reminded, oh yeah he’s the bad guy..
The main plot behind Daredevil for the majority of the season is that Wilson Fisk needs to be brought down. While the “man in the mask” is trying to find out who he is and where to find him, others are taking a less brutal path, yet still just as risky. Karen, secretary for Nelson and Murdock, works closely with Ben Urich, a reporter for a local paper. He’s reported big stories in the past like The Battle of NY and is always trying to find out what’s really going on. Karen is always going to Ben for advice and help in trying to expose wrongdoings around Hell’s Kitchen. Even though Ben usually tries to get Karen to just keep her head low and back off the story, they usually always end up on the same page. Urich knows that Fisk is an important story but his boss won’t have any of it. Too bad, it’s a pretty awesome story if I do say so myself.
Then there’s his outfit. While the standard Daredevil outfit is that pure red suit with devil horns, Murdock mostly wears much simpler garb.
Honestly, this outfit looked better.
Before he even has the name “Daredevil” Murdock runs the streets being known as “the Man in the Mask” or The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. He wears a black mask that complete covers the top half of his face, and a completely black suit. It’s not protective in the least, but damn can he move in it. He seems to enjoy doing flips a lot. For the most part he fights bare handed but, eventually starts using sticks for weapons when he gets them from Stick, his mentor. This outfit looks almost ninja-esque and simple. It definitely looks better than the mask part of the final suit. The actual Daredevil suit looks great, functional, and is supposed to be able to deflect knives and be generally more protective. But, that mask just doesn’t seem to look right for some reason. It also doesn’t look very comfortable to wear.
Obviously there’s so much left out of this in regards to great scenes, moments, and characters. It’s so hard to sum up an entire season’s worth of thought in just one piece. Daredevil is easier than most though, because overall it’s simply amazing. The fact that it’s just barely connected to the rest of the MCU gives it its own dark identity to explore without worry of what the Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D. may be up to. This show is so great on its own that even if for some reason Daredevil never teams up with another hero and just stays its own show, that’s perfectly fine by me. Marvel has finally nailed a cinematic TV series right from the start.